Texas Rangers

Wondering when Rangers will have their new manager in place? Here’s one educated guess

Only six games to go, not that anyone is counting, and only two more against Mike Trout.

Here’s betting Texas Rangers pitcher are counting that one down.

Trout didn’t have his best game of the season Monday night as the Rangers opened a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels, but interim manager Don Wakamatsu wasn’t taking any chances in the 10th inning.

Closer Jose Leclerc was summoned for the 10th as Trout led off. He took a pitch that should have been strike three, but plate ump Gerry Davis missed it and Trout walked two pitches later.

It was Trout’s 117th walk of the season, breaking his single-season club record, and it came ahead of Shohei Ohtani. Leclerc and Ohtani waged quite a battle, and Davis missed another strike, but Leclerc won it on a liner to center and got the next two hitters to escape yet another scoreless inning.

Davis kept up his fine work by ringing up Joey Gallo on a 3-2 pitch well off the plate to end the Rangers’ half of the 11th.

Matt Moore entered for the bottom half and threw three pitches.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 5-4 loss in 11 innings.

1. A whole 12 days had passed since the last time the Rangers were at Angel Stadium before Monday, another one of those screwy MLB scheduling things.

But a lot has changed since the Rangers flew home from a three-game series that ended Sept. 12. The manager then is not the manager now.

That qualifies as a lot, even though it’s just one thing. It’s a really big thing, and one that will have the beat writers wearing out their cell phones after the season until the new manager is in place.

The Rangers hired Jeff Banister on Oct. 16, 2014. That was 18 days after the regular season ended. They hired Ron Washington on Nov. 6, 2006. That was 37 days after the season ended.

If the Rangers seek out a candidate on a playoff team, that could add to the wait. If they go with an internal candidate or a candidate not in the postseason, that could cut the wait time.

There’s also this: The Rangers have penciled in their annual end-of-season pro-scouting meetings for the week of Oct. 22. General manager Jon Daniels and crew could always go without the new manager, but it would seem like he would want the new guy there.

Daniels will be here Tuesday, and my guess is the beat writers request a few moments of his time.

But if anyone is starting a pool for the new hire, give me Oct. 15.

2. Through three starts, Adrian Sampson has given the Rangers a chance to win three times. Twice they didn’t score him any runs, but they actually supported him with three runs Monday night.

He exited after 5 1/3 innings with the scored tied 3-3 and a runner at third base, which scored on a wild pitch from Connor Sadzeck.

But, again, Sampson gave the Rangers a chance to win. That’s more than what some starters have been able to do this season, and it will be something for the Rangers to chew on this off-season and in spring training.

So, too, will be the six homers he has allowed this season (one in relief) in 16 1/3 innings. Sampson flashed his best stuff, striking out six.

In thinking of a comp, Nick Martinez keeps coming to mind.

When Martinez was on, he was could be effective. Even when he was on, he coughed up some homers.

Martinez is pitching in Japan this season, and is 10-10 with a 3.49 ERA for Hokkaido. He’s given up 161 hits (16 homers) in 154 2/3 innings and has tossed three complete games.

But there’s a reason he’s pitching in Japan. Things weren’t working out with the Rangers, who didn’t stand in the way when the Fighters came calling. Martinez was out of options, too.

Sampson wasn’t rushed to the majors as Martinez was in 2014. Sampson has 119 starts in the minors, despite missing half of 2016 and most of 2017 because of an elbow injury.

He was given a chance to learn how to pitch in the minors, and it shows on the mound.

3. Most of the Rangers’ offense Monday night was supplied on a solo homer by Ronald Guzman in the second inning and a two-run homer by Jurickson Profar in the sixth. Both shots tied the game.

Elvis Andrus tied it again with two outs in the ninth with a pinch single after Guzman had doubled off the center-field wall to extend the game.

They weren’t insignificant homers for the players involved.

For Guzman, it was his 16th homer of the season (he just missed another in the ninth, banging a double off the center-field wall). That matches his season-high as a professional and is the most he has hit for one team in a season.

Guzman hit 16 in 2016 — 15 for Double A Frisco and one for Triple A Round Rock.

Profar’s homer was his 19th of the season. He knew before the game that he was two shy of 20 and was hoping he had two homers in him over the final seven games. Now, he just needs one in the final six.

Guzman and Profar rate as two of the developmental success stories this season.

While Guzman’s average is down from where he hit in the minors, he hasn’t been an easy out and he plays a really good first base.

Profar plays all over the infield and in his first season as an everyday player has had one of the best offensive seasons on the team. He knows he needs to clean up his defense.

And, then, there’s this: No one seems to want to trade him anymore.

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